Business Tourism in the UK
Ken spoke in a debate in Parliament on Business Tourism on 21st November, recognising the importance of tourism to the Scottish economy and congratulating Glasgow City Council and others on the work they are doing to encourage more business tourism to their areas. You can read the speech below or watch a video of the speech here:
Ken Macintosh (Eastwood) (Lab): I thank the minister for his opening speech. Despite the disappearing coin trick, the shameless playing to the gallery and even the two caveats on Labour’s amendment, I welcome his comments and his support for our amendment.
I think that there is consensus around the chamber, as there has been in our two recent debates on tourism, and around Scotland that we need to do more to recognise the importance of tourism, and business tourism in particular. In a week that has brought rather gloomy and depressing news about business prospects and the Scottish economy generally, it is good to have an opportunity in the Scottish Parliament to talk about an area in which there is clearly great potential for growth and which has managed to at least somewhat buck the downward trend during the recession.
The closure of Comet follows a number of high street retailers going under, and Vion’s decision to close its whole United Kingdom operation merely adds salt to the wound following its decision to halt production at Hall’s of Broxburn, with the loss of 1, 700 jobs. It is more important than ever that we respond to such developments effectively, with a renewed focus on employment from the Government and Parliament and an emphasis on diversifying and supporting our manufacturing sector. We should also respond to the difficulties by putting an even greater emphasis on ensuring that we make the most of expanding sectors, such as the business tourism sector.
It is worth reminding ourselves—as the minister did—of the importance of the tourism industry to Scotland already. We have had a number of debates recently about tourism in general. The Scottish Government’s motion highlights the £2.9 billion in value added that tourism is now worth to the Scottish economy. It is particularly notable that business tourism accounts for 20 per cent of total tourism expenditure in Scotland—some £878 million per year. Some 2.6 million business trips were made to Scotland in 2011.